SENATE, No. 1879

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MARCH 27, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Regulates placement of charges for products or services on telephone bills.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

 


An Act concerning billing practices of telecommunications companies and supplementing Title 48 of the Revised Statutes.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† As used in P.L.††† , c.†† (C.††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

†††† "Billing agent" means a telecommunications company authorized by the board or by law to provide telecommunications services in this State, and authorized by agreement with a vendor to bill its own customers for products or services offered by that vendor through inclusion of a charge for such products or services on its customersí telecommunications bills.

†††† "Board" means the Board of Public Utilities or any successor agency.

†††† "Telephone bill" means a telecommunications companyís invoice for products or services supplied to a customer of the company.

†††† "Telecommunications company" means a company authorized by the board or by law to provide telecommunications services to customers in this State.

†††† "Vendor" means any entity that offers a product or service to the customer of a telecommunications company but shall not include that telecommunications company itself.

 

†††† 2.††† a.† Notwithstanding any law, rule, regulation, or order to the contrary, a telecommunications company shall not bill or otherwise seek to impose a charge on one or more of its own customers through inclusion of a charge on a telephone bill for a product or service offered by that telecommunications company, unless the telecommunications company first obtains the customerís express written order for the product or service and written consent to have the charges associated with the customerís purchase of such product or service appear on the customer's telephone bill.

†††† A telecommunications company shall not act or agree to act as the billing agent for another vendor with respect to the purchase by a customer of the telecommunications company of a product or service offered for sale by that vendor unless the vendor has submitted to the telecommunications company a copy of the customerís express written order for the product or service and the telecommunications company has received from the customer the customerís express written consent to have the charges associated with the customerís purchase of the product or service appear on the customerís telephone bill.

†††† b.††† The consents required by subsection a. of this section shall be obtained by sending written notice to the customer from the telecommunications company or vendor, as appropriate, and obtaining written documentation signed and dated by the customer, at least 30 days before the associated charge is scheduled to take effect, acknowledging having ordered the product or service and authorizing the associated charges to be assessed on the customer's telephone bill.

†††† c.†††† In addition to the procedure set forth in subsection b. of this section, the consent required by subsection a. of this section may also be obtained by any other verification method approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

 

†††† 3.††† It shall be an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) to violate any provision of P.L.††† , c.†† (C.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

†††† 4.††† The board shall promulgate, in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), such rules and regulations as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of P.L.††† , c.†† (C.††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

†††† 5.††† This act shall take effect immediately and be applicable to telephone bills issued 180 days after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill prohibits any telecommunications company from charging its customers through their telephone bills for a products or services or acting as the billing agent for another vendor of products or services unless the company first obtains the customerís express written order for the product or service and written consent to have the charges associated with the customerís purchase of such product or service appear on the customer's telephone bill.

†††† The bill permits any other verification method approved by the Federal Communications Commission to be substituted for the procedure set forth in the bill for obtaining consent from a customer before charges for a new product or service may be assessed on the customer's telephone bill.

†††† The bill further provides that it is an unlawful practice and a violation of the State's consumer fraud law, P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.) to violate any of the bill's provisions.